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Upgrading new(er) Windows 8.1 machines to Windows 10

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I wrote an article on upgrading older Windows 7 and older computers to Windows 10 because I knew that people would try this. As I explained in that article, upgrading old systems certainly has risks and issues. Here is that article for easy reference:   http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/19120/Upgrading-older-systems-to-Windows-10-a-real-world-test.html
 
Now I have always intended on using Windows 10 and my plan was to purchase a Lenovo small form factor “M” series desktop computer to replace my Lenovo “M” Windows 7 Pro tower computer and a Lenovo X250 to replace my Lenovo X230 Windows 8.1 Pro computer. As soon as Lenovo has these machines with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed, I shall purchase them. I expect this to be in 3 or 4 weeks for the X250.
 
Alas, planning went by the wayside when I did some updates yesterday on my Lenovo X230 laptop with Windows 8.1. One of the updates was Windows 10 and two hours later my X230 became a Windows 10 computer. In place upgrades are not (in my opinion) always a good idea and this upgrade was no exception. The article that follows here is a description of the process and remedial corrective steps taken. The objective is to have a perfectly functioning Windows 10 machine with no issues in order that my computer is not an impediment to my consulting work. My X230 is less than three years old, has an upgraded i5 CPU, 8 GB of memory, modern network cards and was fully up to date with respect to application software. Accordingly, the computer was a good candidate for a successful upgrade.
 
I did the upgrade via Windows Update (the normal approach) and the update failed on the first try (not common for me). I cancelled, shut down, started up and the upgrade proceeded on the second try. It took a couple of hours to become a working machine.
You can also go here:  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10   ,
download the Windows 10 ISO and install from that. I have used this approach as well.
 
The very first thing I noticed is the networking survived just fine. A somewhat common complaint here in Experts Exchange is that networking does not work after upgrade to Windows 10. I have an Intel 82579 wired Network Adapter (NIC) and an Intel N6205 wireless NIC. Both network cards work just fine in Windows 10 and, in fact, my Nokia CS-18 USB Internet stick works fine as well. There were no issues with connecting to the Internet, and of course, this is essential. Based on my experience with new and old wireless cards, you definitely need a modern wireless NIC for Windows 10.
 
The second thing to note is that Windows 10 eliminates the ability to choose the colour for Title bars and they are all White!  This is a fundamentally bad decision because it is very difficult to determine where you are. All windows blend into all other windows. Usability experts very simply could NOT have looked at this. I went to:   http://www.windowscentral.com/replace-those-white-title-bars-windows-10-colors-theme
downloaded and installed the theme package, and now my Accent colour extends to Title Bars as well. I recommend this, at least until Microsoft addresses the issue.
 
The third thing to note is there is a new Start Menu. It is a blend between a Windows 7 Start Menu and a windowed Windows 8 Start Screen. It is functional and I will refer to it below. I still use my Taskbar Start Menu that I needed and used in Windows 8. It survived the upgrade and I now use both methods equally well.
 
The fourth thing to note is that Windows 10 has settings to change your default applications (it suggests Edge instead of Internet Explorer) and privacy settings (how you share things, in particular your Wi-Fi). I unchecked ALL of these. Keep your applications and keep your privacy. You can always go back later and experiment, but do NOT let Windows choose for you. Once Windows 10 is running, go to Manage Wi-Fi settings and ensure connect to hotspots and share to contacts are both OFF.
 
From here until the end now is a description of what happened yesterday. This morning, my X230 is a smoothly operating Windows 10 Pro machine with no errors and with all applications running. The remedial steps are all different, so I will proceed by application section.
 
Drivers:  I already knew from my research that Lenovo had Windows 10 drivers for my X230 and some drivers were either Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 but not both and I could not pre-install all drivers. The Windows 8.1 drivers were all up to date and most of the drivers survived the upgrade, in particular, Chipset and BIOS.
 
One of the pickier Lenovo drivers has always been the ThinkPad Settings Dependency package. I could see that (a) a new Windows 10 upgrade was available and (b) I was getting Critical Errors in Reliability Monitor from Settings Dependency. Updating it did not stop the Critical Errors. I ran Start, Lenovo Settings and it prompted me for a new Settings Foundation package that was not on the Lenovo Support pages (that I could see) and had not been updated by Windows Update either. I ran the update and when it was done the Critical Errors stopped for good.
 
I looked through the Lenovo Support pages and there were Windows 10 updates for the wireless NIC, Hard Drive protection package, UltraNav driver for Track Point and Track Pad, Bluetooth, and Auto Scroll. I did all these and they all worked. Curiously, the Windows 10 Video driver (Intel) was earlier than the Windows 8.1 Video driver and I did not install that. Driver updates normally cause restarts and so by now I had fully restarted the computer several times.
 
Office 2013 (Home/Business Subscription): I assumed Office 2013 would function and largely it did. One Note barked about not being “default” and eventually I had to select the “Ignore this message” option and One Note is now working fine. I use One Note all the time. Otherwise, Excel, Word (I am writing this in Word 2013) and Power Point all work fine.
 
Adobe Acrobat V2015 (DC): Worked fine. No repairs were needed and it seems to work fine with Internet Explorer. I have read it does not fully cooperate with Edge and I am not using Edge.
 
NCP Secure Entry V10.02 (VPN application software): It survived the upgrade, but when I tried to use it, it complained about being unlicensed. Any attempt to enter my valid license key did not work. I uninstalled it (keeping licensing and profiles), restarted and installed it again and it is working just fine. This is another critical application for me, so it is necessary to have it running.
 
HP 8610 Printer:  The printer driver did not survive intact and I had expected this. I went to Programs and Features in Control Panel, clicked on HP Basic Printer Software and did a Repair. This forces a restart which I did and then I ran the Printer Icon to connect the printer driver to the network printer. This worked and the Windows 10 Print driver is working fine and prints to my HP 8610 printer.
 
QuickBooks V2015:  QuickBooks is my consulting bread and butter and it survived the upgrade and worked. Some of the windows (such as Print Report) did not show up properly. I could cancel the window and do it again successfully; however, I ran the QuickBooks installer and selected Repair and allowed the repair to complete. QuickBooks appears to be working properly now.
 
DU Meter is an inexpensive and very handy network monitoring tool for the computer you are using, and I have been using it for years. It normally sits in the System Tray where you can click and see a network traffic window. This is very handy to watch a long download for slowness and dropouts. It did not start, that is, it did not show up in the system tray and trying to start it from the Start Menu did not work either. Coincidentally, I saw that Version 7.09 had just been released. I was using Version 7.08, so I downloaded the new version and installed it. This worked but on restart, it did not show up again. I elected a second time to reinstall DU Meter and restart again and this time, it worked properly and has been working properly ever since.
 
Symantec Endpoint Protection V12.1.6:  I had this version running on Windows 8.1 (you need at least V12.1.4 for Windows 8.1 in any event) and it had been working very well. I use Symantec Endpoint Version 12 for myself and for clients because it works well, uses very little resource and is currently in the top tier for virus protection. It survived the upgrade to Windows 10 just fine and did not need any repairs. All the settings carried over as well. I caution readers who read too quickly that Symantec Endpoint Protection is a corporate product and NOT the Norton consumer product. You need a minimum 5 user license and I ordered a 3-year, 5-user renewal license this past April at a good price and use it for all home office computers.

Note to the original article (1 day later):  On a clean install or pre-installed system, the Symantec Installation will disable Windows Defender. After the upgrade to Windows 10 and after the initial article here, I noticed steady CPU usage in the order of 25%. Some searching let to Windows Defender. I turned that off using gpedit.msc . Run gpedit.msc with Win Key + R and enter gpdedit.msc. Go to Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Defender and set "Turn off Windows Defender" to Enabled.  Close out.

Having done that and restarted, CPU was still higher than I would like. Going through my whole upgrade in my mind left Symantec as one of the few packages I did not touch. I ran the SEP V12.1.6 installer, did a Repair, restarted and after settling down, CPU is about 5% or less - just like it should be.
 
Other Packages:  I use a number of other packages such as WinZip V19.5, xPlorer2 V3 File Manager, Ipswitch WS FTP V12.4.1, VMware Workstation V11.1, and so on, and all of these packages migrated over and worked fine. All my virtual machines migrated over safely.
 
Networking and Folder Sharing:  I have always networked my computers together so I can move a file or folder from one machine to the other. I have always used the GUI Map Network Drive or NET USE Z: commands in a batch file (better than Browse the Network). The latter method serves to connect my laptop to my desktop computer or to any client server from Server 2003 to Server 2012. I wrote an article about modern folder sharing because this is a trouble spot for a lot of people. Here is a link to that article:  http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/16639/Folder-sharing-on-modern-machines.html
 
As soon as the Windows 10 upgrade was stable, I was able to connect my machines together with the batch files (that survived the upgrade) and Sync Back Pro worked properly with no errors right after the upgrade. All my files and documents are synchronized and (as a result) fully backed up on my Windows 7 Desktop computer.
 
iTunes V12.2.1 and my iPhone 4s:  iTunes V12 migrated over properly, runs and iPhone synchronization works properly and my calendar is up to date along with contacts, notes and so on.
 
Conclusions:
 
Was the upgrade successful?  Yes. I admit to being at bit miffed at a less than perfect upgrade and the resulting six hours of remedial work. As a result, the machine is working very well with no errors.
 
Was it worth moving to Windows 10? Yes. I have used all recent operating systems from XP Pro forward with equal aplomb. Windows 10 is (arguably) better than Windows 8.1 and is an operating system that may well last 3 or 4 years (and possibly beyond).
 
Do I upgrade my computer or buy a new one?  This depends. I intend anyway to purchase a Lenovo X250 with Windows 10 pre-installed and a 3 or 4 year warranty extension. I expect it to last (along with Windows 10) for 4 or 5 year. The current Lenovo X230 will be a spare computer. If you cringed at the level of remedial work and are not a technical user, then a new computer may well be in the cards for you.
 
Overall, Windows 10 is a good solid operating system. It has only been out for 10 days and I assume the next 4 to 6 months will bring functional updates and patches that will make it even better. I am enjoying Windows 10 and I think you will as well.
 
A note about legacy software:  You will see by the list above that I use all current (and paid) software. Legacy software has a habit of causing trouble and “free” is worth what you paid. Keeping software up to date is a top notch way for trouble-free computing. Good luck with Windows 10.
 
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Author:John
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by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
Thanks for the great review John!
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Expert Comment

by:Kyle Santos
You know...6 hours aint bad.  I've been using mac for about 2 1/2 years now and I've gone through growing pains with Lion, Mavericks and Yosemite too.  The fact that this upgrade to Windows 10 is free is worth the effort to upgrade, and there are some neat features I've seen so far.  Despite the scary privacy concerns that have been noted in numerous discussions, I'm optimistic that Windows 10 is good for Windows users to try out. (As long as they are prepared for some trouble along the way, right?) :)

Thanks for this article, John!
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by:John
Upgrades are (in my opinion) never really a good idea. 6 Hours was to repair all the problems upgrading created. But having said that, Windows 10 is a decent system (so was Windows 8.1) and the upgrade was worth it to be current.
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by:Daniel Brown
I Upgrade my 2009 Dell Vastro from win8.1 to win10, it took 30-60mins. After the upgrade the network card would work for a while then would get corrupted and stop working. I updated drivers and tried many different things. By the end of the day I was back on win8.1. I think for me I will have to install win10 as a fresh install!
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by:John
See if you can get newest Dell drivers. My Lenovo network cards (both) work fine. If the newest do not work, it may not be Windows 10 compliant.

If you are going to try a fresh install, and now you are back on Windows 8, do a Windows 8 Refresh and try upgrading to Windows 10 from there.
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Expert Comment

by:Daniel Brown
Thanks for your reply John. I did install the latest drivers from Dell. They did say on the page that my model was not compatible with windows 10. We have the Microsoft Partner pack so I could just install win10 fresh but that will mean hours of setting up everything so will just have to stay on win8.1 for this computer. A windows 10 virtual machine will just have to do for me for now.

On another note my laptop at home installed windows 10 fresh without issues, it's an old Toshiba Satellite L300.

Starting to think Dell is the issue for me not windows 10.
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by:John
Yes - Dell unfortunately builds some systems as one operating system wonders. It is one reason why I stay with Lenovo.
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by:IT Guy
Great article.
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